If you have diabetes, you have a much higher chance of developing problems with your feet. This is because diabetes can affect your circulation and cause a loss of feeling called peripheral neuropathy. In addition to this, raised blood sugar can damage the sensation in your feet. This can cause two issues – firstly, you may not notice if your feet are injured or sore, and secondly, the poor blood supply means that those injuries may not heal properly.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect your feet.
How To Look After Your Feet If You Have Diabetes
When you have diabetes, it is more vital than ever to ensure that you keep your feet in good condition. Here are some things that you should do:
Make sure that your shoes fit well, and that they don’t squeeze or rub.
Keep your feet clean and dry them well after washing. You should wash your feet in warm water every day and use a mild soap. Test the temperature of the water using your elbow to avoid burns.
Don’t walk barefoot – this will help you to avoid cuts and other injuries.
Cut your toenails regularly. Make sure that you cut them straight across, rather than on an angle, and don’t cut them too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
Protect your feet from hot and cold (e.g. by wearing shoes at the beach or socks at night).
Check your feet daily. Look for any sores, blisters, calluses or redness. If you notice anything unusual, contact your podiatrist.
See a podiatrist at least once a year.
Alongside these vital points, there are other things you can do to look after your foot health when you have diabetes.
Smoking causes tar to enter the bloodstream, which then makes your blood thicker, increases your blood pressure and narrows your arteries. This impairs your blood circulation, which can significantly worsen foot problems if you have diabetes.
Eat Well And Exercise
Exercise improves your blood circulation, which can help you avoid issues with your feet and legs when you have diabetes. Additionally, eating well can help you to regulate your blood sugar levels, keeping you fit and well.
When You Should See A Podiatrist…
Although you should see your podiatrist at least once a year, you should also book an appointment if you notice any of the following:
Changes in skin colour
Pain in the legs
Dry cracks around the heel
Unusual foot odour
Changes in skin temperature
Your podiatrist will be able to treat the problems and give you advice to avoid them in the future. It is vital that you do not put off visiting the podiatrist if you are concerned about your feet, because untreated infections can lead to amputation.
At Northwich Foot Clinic, our podiatrists are highly skilled in the treatment of people with diabetes, and we are easily accessible for people across the North West. You can book an appointment online today.